From Daddy on Thursday

Hello Andy's Family,
Donna and I took off a couple of days after Sunday. Our minds and hearts wanted to keep going, but our bodies wouldn't cooperate. But we are kind of back now, and I thought I would let you know what I know from Daniel as of about 10:00 last night.

Dan said that they had a pretty good trip to Florida on the C-130 aircraft. It wasn't crowded and he got a nap on the way. Andy rested pretty comfortably. Dan said it was kind of an "Air Force Sky Taxi." They let several people off at different places along the way.

Andy and Daniel arrived at the hospital after the normal business hours, but Dan said that everybody was very accommodating. They settled Andy in and began attending to the pain that had started up in his shoulder again by the end of the long day.

Dan said his quarters at the Fisher House were about 100 feet from the back door of the hospital. He said his room was extremely nice and that there were all of the extra facilities for an easy stay including washers, dryers, and a nice kitchen with a private cabinet for each guest where they could put their own grocery items.

So, it seem that everyone has entered a new phase, so to speak. Donna and I are starting to consider how best to play a role in Florida to help Mr. Independent (Daniel) who always seems comfortable with whatever he has to do. I wish I had half of that kids confidence.

For Donna and I, the details that used to seem so important around here, don't really seem so any more. Caring for Mother is important. Our ministry work is important. And a few people issues certainly matter. But the rest, not so much. We're still drifting a little bit, like we are not really supposed to be here. But we know we are, at least for a time.

Since this all happened my mind has regularly gone back to times when Andy was small. I guess it is kind of an escape mechanism. That has gone on a lot since we have been home too. It brings a great deal of comfort to me to think about his childhood.

I remember one time when we lived in Jackson MS. Andy would have been about 3 or 4. In those days, I was taking some classes and building furniture to make ends meet. Every day, in the morning, I would go out to my shop to start in and my little shadow would follow me.

Little boys typically have a lot of questions along about that age. Not Andy. He had all the answers. And he was not afraid to share this vast wealth of insight with anyone who could keep up. I used to think, "So many answers, such a small head." Anyway, that was exactly what he was doing with me on this one particular morning.

He started to play on the rope swing just outside the doors of my shop as I went to work. So, for a couple of hours, I worked and he "rattled." Then, I noticed that it got quiet. There was only one thing more scary than listening to Andy, and that was when you listened and couldn't hear him. At that point you instantly knew, "something's up."

So, that morning I went to investigate. What I saw is still clearly etched in my brain to this day. Just outside the shop sat an old rusty, deep sided wheel barrow. Andy had gone in and gotten the the big fluffy white pillow off his bed and put it in that wheel barrow and then crawled in himself and went to sleep.

So, there he was, sound asleep in the wheel barrow. That in itself was quite a picture, (which I did snap with our camera that morning). But unless you knew Andy in those days, you don't yet have the whole picture.

At this age, except for his searing intellect, Andy's hair was, without doubt, his most striking feature. Actually, in those days, he was mostly hair. He had little reddish blond tufts all over his head. They were thick and shiny and just long enough lay over in little soft loops. It was quite a "do" and we just didn't have the heart to cut it.

When he walked, every little tuft bounced lightly on his head. People couldn't keep from touching it. And more than one lady said they would kill for hair like that. Andy, of course, was oblivious. But, the rest of us loved it, and we've got lots of "pics" to prove it. So, when I looked at Andy in the wheel barrow, the picture I saw was about 1/3 pillow, 1/3 boy, and 1/3 hair. He looked like "Cousin It" (The Adams Family) with a permanent. As long as I live I will never forget that picture.

I am very proud of who Andy is today, and who he is going to be, as I am all of my children. But I so treasure the memories of their childhoods, especially today. I think there is nothing so beautiful in this life as innocence.

I hope we can all retain something of ours. I hope our children can. I hope our world can. I have found that, that is one of the things that Christ has restored to me as I have followed him. He has taken away much of the "destructive sophistication" of life, just as He promised to do, so that I can enjoy the innocence that comes from being less "aware."

When you can entrust such issues as tomorrow, and personal survival, and life's randomness to Him, life is simpler and I don't have to be so sophisticated in all that I am about. I will take innocence over sophistication any day.

We love you all, and we are so grateful for your love. My God grant you the "light burden" of his watchcare this day.

Larry and Donna for the family.

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